With a continued decrease in the percentage of the population under 15 years, there will soon be more people leaving the work force than there will be entering. Canada’s already strained labour force will face even greater challenges.
One solution is increased immigration. Welcoming more immigrants into Canadian jobs will help maintain labour force numbers. However, increased immigration will not significantly affect the aging trend as most new immigrants are around thirty years old and are having the same number of children as the average Canadian resident. Another solution is to encourage retirement-aged workers to stay engaged in the work force, a quite viable option given that many of them are not yet ready to retire. The most important solution, however, is to increase productivity among the smaller labour pool. To maintain economic growth, companies will need to invest in labour-saving strategies, machinery, equipment, and technology.
One out of every seven Canadians is a senior citizen. There are more than one million Canadians over 80 years of age and there are over 4,600 centenarians. Every region in Canada is aging, however the West is generally younger than the East. The province of Saskatchewan
has the oldest population while Alberta
has the youngest.
Statistics Canada recently released the latest age and gender statistics based on the 2006 census. The results show an aging population in which the fastest growing portion of the population (aged 55 to 64) will soon be exiting the work force. Canada’s population has been aging steadily for quite some time now because of low birth rates and longer life expectancy. However, now that 17 per cent of the work force is nearing retirement age, economists and policy makers must brace for a significant changes in the next decade or so.